CAPA clinic

Collaborators run the ribbon on the addition of the CAPA clinic to combat substance abuse in St. Louis on Tuesday, April 23: Mary McKay, dean of the Brown School at Washington University; Cori Putz, executive vice president, Preferred Family Healthcare; Ann Hutton, PFH senior executive vice president; Michael Morrison, former CEO, Bridgeway Behavioral Healthcare; David Patterson Silver Wolf, associate professor, Brown School at Washington University; Paula Brawner, PFH executive vice president; and Michael Bloodworth,  PFH regional director.

The Community Academic Partnership on Addiction Clinic of the Brown School at Washington University is now in operation at the Preferred Family Healthcare Substance Use Disorder Clinic at 4066 Dunnica Ave. in South St. Louis. A ribbon-cutting celebration was held on Tuesday, April 23. CAPA is described as a first of its kind effort to improve treatment outcomes for substance use disorder, which started from a conversation about what science and data say works for addiction recovery.

The facility offers an 18-bed medical detox unit, residential and outpatient drug treatment and behavioral health services. It employs one doctor, two nurse practitioners, over a dozen nurses, as well as a full clinical staff of counselors, community support specialists and peer support program.

“We routinely admit up to eight consumers per day who have overdosed within the past 24 hours and were outreached through the EPIC project, on top of our already scheduled detox and outpatient admissions,” said Michael Bloodworth, site director for Preferred Family Healthcare (PFH). Adult substance use services are operated by Bridgeway Behavioral Health, while PFH operates adolescent substance use services. PFH also offers employment and housing assistance at that location.

The CAPA clinic adds interns for teaching, learning and research for master and doctoral students from Wash. U. studying for careers in addiction treatment. Five to six interns will participate in the program each semester, with each intern completing up to one academic year in the program.

Michael Morrison, former CEO of Bridgeway Behavioral Healthcare, said in order to help clients engage in treatment, there must be an understanding about addiction: how people who have substance use disorders think and feel, why they do the things they do, and how to present options and tools to them.

“And that’s what CAPA is really about,” Morrison said. “You can teach students what science says in a classroom, but you can’t really teach students how to apply what science says in a classroom. As far as I know, this is the first and only clinic integrating social work students in a substance use treatment program.”

The Brown School dean praised Preferred Family Healthcare for its enduring commitment to support clients to reach their full potential.

“Although at the Brown School, we are trying to educate students in social work and in public health and in social policy – it will be you who will be the true educators,” said Mary McKay, dean of the Brown School at Washington University. “It will be you who share your wisdom, offer support to our students here, and we are really humbled by this partnership and commit to being a good partner.”

Bloodworth, the site director, described the CAPA clinic as “a joint commitment to developing the best professionals this field has to offer by exposing these students to the entire scope of services this facility provides. This will, in turn, create professionals that are more prepared to combat the opioid epidemic as well as other challenges our consumers face.”

Since the 1950s, not much has changed in addiction recovery, said David Patterson Silver Wolf, associate professor at the Brown School and chief research officer for the program.

“It is time we up our game,” he said. “It is a sad time here now with the opioid epidemic, but it is the right time now to do something different and continue to take risk. It’s going to take innovation, it’s going to take getting out of our comfort zones, using technology, performance-based practice, understanding how people recover in the clinic, in the community, how we perform as professionals.”

The CAPA clinic manifests the idea that they could bring all of those things together to try something new and something different.

Cori Putz, executive vice president of Preferred Family Healthcare, said having the Brown School clinic at its Dunnica site will further close the gap between bringing science to service.

“The CAPA Clinic creates opportunities for social work students to gain knowledge and experience in treating the disease of addiction,” Putz stated. “Our hope is that the experience of treating individuals suffering from addiction will contribute to reducing stigma associated with addiction as well as create future employment opportunities for these individuals, growing the substance use disorder treatment workforce.”

For more information regarding CAPA clinic services, call Bridgeway Behavioral Health at Preferred Family Healthcare at 636-224-1000.The clinic accepts insurance, Medicaid, self-pay and state funding.

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